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Two children killed in oil pipeline explosion in southern Iraq

Saturday's blast follows an attack on an oil pipeline earlier in the week in the north
An aerial view of an oil field near Iraq's southern port city of Basra (AFP)

Two children have been killed after a blast struck a pipeline in southern Iraq, authorities said.

An investigation had been launched into the latest explosion in Muthanna province, south of Baghdad, that killed "two children and wounded 28 people," state media said.

The southern attack came days after a blast in the north this week which, according to a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) released late on Friday, forced the closure of another pipeline.

The statement said oil exports had been suspended after "terrorists" attacked the pipeline crossing the autonomous region to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on Wednesday evening.

It did not specify on whose territory the explosion took place nor who might have been behind it.

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Iraq Oil Report on Saturday said that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was suspected of being behind the attack.

The pipeline built by the Kurds has a capacity of 600,000 barrels per day, but exports of oil under their control currently averages 300,000 bpd as demanded by Opec.

Nearly 90 percent of the Iraqi government's budget comes from oil revenues.

Like Turkey, the autonomous KRG considers the PKK, which has bases in the region, as a "terrorist" organisation.

Tensions have been increasing in recent months between the KRG and PKK, with the latter accusing the KRG of collaborating with Turkey to target the group in Iraq.

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